(1) RESEARCH REVIEW.—Prior to the development of the research plan, the council shall review and compile the existing, ongoing, and planned ocean and coastal research and monitoring activities relevant to this state. Included in this review shall be the “Florida’s Ocean Strategies Final Report to the Governor” by the Florida Governor’s Oceans Committee dated June 1999. To aid the council in fulfilling this requirement, all public agencies must submit the information requested by the council, and private research institutes are encouraged to submit relevant information to the maximum extent practicable. Upon receiving the information required by this subsection, the council shall develop a library to serve as a repository of information for use by those involved in ocean and coastal research. The council shall develop an index of this information to assist researchers in accessing the information.
(2) RESEARCH PLAN.—The council must complete a Florida Oceans and Coastal Scientific Research Plan which shall be used by the Legislature in making funding decisions. The plan must recommend priorities for scientific research projects. The plan must be submitted to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives by January 15, 2006. Thereafter, annual updates to the plan must be submitted to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives by February 1 of each year. The research projects contained in the plan must meet at least one of the following objectives:
(a) Exploring opportunities to improve coastal ecosystem functioning and health through watershed approaches to managing freshwater and improving water quality.
(b) Evaluating current habitat conservation, restoring and maintaining programs, and recommending improvements in the areas of research, monitoring, and assessment.
(c) Promoting marine biomedical or biotechnology research and product discovery and development to enhance Florida’s opportunity to maximize the beneficial uses of marine-derived bioproducts and reduce negative health impacts of marine organisms.
(d) Creating consensus and strategies on how Florida can contribute to sustainable management of ocean wildlife and habitat.
(e) Documenting through examination of existing and new research the impact of marine and coastal debris and current best practices to reduce debris.
(f) Providing methods to achieve sustainable fisheries through better science, governance, stock enhancements and consideration of habitat and secondary impacts such as bycatch.
(g) Documenting gaps in current protection strategies for marine mammals.
(h) Promoting research and new methods to preserve and restore coral reefs and other coral communities.
(i) Achieving sustainable marine aquaculture.
(j) Reviewing existing and ongoing studies on preventing and responding to the spread of invasive and nonnative marine and estuarine species.
(k) Exploring ocean-based renewable energy technologies and climate change-related impacts to Florida’s coastal area.
(l) Enhancing science education opportunities such as virtual marine technology centers.
(m) Sustaining abundant birdlife and encouraging the recreational and economic benefits associated with ocean and coastal wildlife observation and photography.
(n) Developing a statewide analysis of the economic value associated with ocean and coastal resources, developing economic baseline data, methodologies, and consistent measures of oceans and coastal resource economic activity and value, and developing reports that educate Floridians, the United States Commission on Ocean Policy, local, state, and federal agencies and others on the importance of ocean and coastal resources.
(3) RESOURCE ASSESSMENT.—By December 1, 2006, the council shall prepare a comprehensive oceans and coastal resource assessment that shall serve as a baseline of information to be used in assisting in its research plan. The resource assessment must include:
(a) Patterns of use of oceans and coastal resources;
(b) Natural resource features, including, but not limited to, habitat, bathymetry, surficial geology, circulation, and tidal currents;
(c) The location of current and proposed oceans and coastal research and monitoring infrastructure;
(d) Industrial, commercial, coastal observing system, ships, subs, and recreational transit patterns; and
(e) Socioeconomic trends of the state’s oceans and coastal resources and oceans and coastal economy.